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Festival Activities

Balboa Park December Nights, the nation’s premier holiday festival, will take place for the 36th consecutive year on Friday, Dec. 5, 3-11pm, and Saturday, Dec. 6, noon-11pm. As always, the event brings families and friends together to spread holiday joy, learn more about the cultural value of Balboa Park and kick-off the “most wonderful time of the year.”


Take a look at Balboa Park December Nights 2013!

2013 Activities

  • Stop in for information from our talented volunteers! Open 9:30am-10:30pm both days.

    Speciality items in the Gift Shop include light-up bracelets, necklaces, sabers and hair extensions. 

  • Member-created holiday craft for sale along with information about the Blind Community Center. Carolers accompanied by guitar perform secular and traditional music every hour.

  • Hosts Gator by the Bay and Bon Temps Stage in the Plaza de Panama.

    Features rollicking Cajun/Zydeco music and dance lessons.

    Complete entertainment listing can be found at:

  • Presented by SWEA: Get a taste of Sweden on the California Quadrangle near the Museum of Man. 

    LUCIA, the candle-crowned Queen of Lights, is the traditional Swedish antidote to dark winter nights. She comes as the harbinger of Christmas and bringing hope to the world. 

    Located on the California Quadrangle stage, the annual celebration of the Santa Lucia Procession again brings this stirring festival of lights to December Nights. Enjoy the candle light procession and hear Lucia's attendants sing traditional Swedish songs of peace on earth, and to all people good will. 

    Also hosted by SWEA in the California Quadrangle: Traditional Swedish favorites include: Meatballs, open-faced sandwiches, pea soup, rosettes (pastries), hot chocolate and glögg (hot spiced wine)

  • Fabulous dance performances featuring the San Diego Civic Dance Company's signature holiday Rockette-style routines. 
    Friday, every hour from 5:15-9:15
    Saturday, 12:00, 2:00, 3:30 - and then every hour from 5:15-9:15.

    Also photos with Santa and gingerbread cookie decorating!

  • The Community Christmas Center Committee displays the 8-piece Nativity and Gingerbread House in the Organ Pavilion. The committee also installs Santa and his reindeer in the center Mall. A non-profit organization, the committee relies on public & private donations and hundreds of volunteer hours.

    The Navity display will be on view from Nov 30th until Jan. 3rd. 

  • Both groups will sell donuts and cinnamon rolls, water, soft drinks, and glow-in-the-dark items. 

  • The 32 countries represented will be selling ethnic food and spirits on Friday and Saturay. Many cottages will also display Christmas decorations as seen in their countries. 

  • Annual holiday puppet tradition of "A Christmas Carol". All characters are animal puppets and include Muppet-style puppets and even a few giant puppets!

    Free shows both nights at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00pm

  •  Award-winning San Diego Chorus will sell a variety of snacks on El Prado.

  • San Diego Civic Youth Ballet proudly presents excerpts of The Nutcracker.

    Take an extraordinary journey to the magical Land of Sweets with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince. Witness the epic battle between toy soldiers and mice before being whisked away to an enchanted land of falling snow, waltzing flowers, and the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Set to the timeless music of Tchaikovsky, this annual holiday production will become a cherished family tradition.

    Casa del Prado Theater – Dec. 7-8, 6:00pm, 7:00pm, & 8:00pm

  • Floral's gift to the community is a display of 30 beautifully decorated holiday trees in Casa del Prado Room 101. The theme this year is Holidays Around the World.
    Friday, 3:00-10:00pm
    Saturday, 3:00-10:00pm

    Protea sale. 

  • Junior Theatre group "JT On Tour" performs holiday favorites on the JT stage (adjacent to Casa del Prado) beginning at 6:30 each evening. 

  • Spanish Village art studios will be open and our patio will be full of more artist members. This is your chance to purchase one of a kind gifts that are handmade by local artists! 

    Santa will be in our gazebo listening to boys and girls list their Christmas wishes from 5:00-10:00pm both nights

    There will be a variety of musicians performing on the patio and at the food court. 

  • A theatre open house in The Old Globe will feature an exceptional lobby display of costumes and a tour of the Whoville set from "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!". Visiting children and their families may have their pictures taken with the Grinch and enjoy a bag of freshly popped popcorn. 

  • Fantastic gifts from around the world including: clothing, music, books, jewelry, candy, nativities, holiday cards and more!